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The Mediterranean vs South Beach (diets)

South Beach vs

Good health and longevity interest people of all ages from around the world. As a result, the weight loss and fitness industries have been booming for years. There are so many diets that those seeking help with their weight loss or health needs don't know where to turn. Two diets that have become extremely popular recently are the Mediterranean Diet and the South Beach Diet.

Here's a detailed comparison of both diets.

Mediterranean Diet Explained

The Mediterranean Diet is often called "The Healthiest Diet in the World" because of its healthy weight loss benefits. Just as the name implies, the Mediterranean Diet has been enjoyed by people who live in the Mediterranean region, particularly Italy and Greece, for thousands of years and is now being adopted by many Americans and others around the world.

Mediterranean diet sample menu

It is a diet low in saturated fat with healthy mono-unsaturated fats being provided through fish, nuts, and olive oil. It features foods such as dried fruits, vegetables, whole grains, small portions of meat such as salmon, turkey, lamb, and tuna, and a small amount of wine. The Mediterranean Diet is known for its many benefits such as helping in the prevention of gallstones, breast cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and other diseases.

Breakfast for Mediterranean diet (sample)

Mediterranean Lentil Salad: At first glance, this might not look like a morning meal. But favorites like avocado, feta, spinach, and raisins lend a distinct breakfast flavor profile. The lentils will keep cravings at bay, too.

Mediterranean Diet and the South Beach Diet

South Beach Diet Explained

The South Beach Diet is a newer "no carb" type diet where carbohydrates are prohibited during the first phase of the diet and then are slowly introduced back into the diet after two weeks. There are three phases altogether, with the third being for maintenance. The focus is on lean meats such as chicken, turkey, shellfish, and fish as well as nuts, eggs, and low-fat cheese. The benefits are weight loss with a long-term balanced diet plan to help with weight maintenance.

Phase 1 of the South beach diet

This two-week phase is designed to eliminate cravings for foods high in sugar and refined starches to jump-start weight loss. You cut out almost all carbohydrates from your diet, including pasta, rice, bread, and fruit. You can't drink fruit juice or any alcohol. You focus on eating lean protein, such as seafood, skinless poultry, lean beef, and soy products. You can also eat high-fiber vegetables, low-fat dairy, and foods with healthy, unsaturated fats, including avocados, nuts, and seeds.

Phase 2 of the South beach diet

This is a long-term weight-loss phase. You begin adding back some of the foods that were prohibited in phase 1, such as whole-grain bread, whole-wheat pasta, brown rice, fruits, and more vegetables. You stay in this phase until you reach your goal weight.

Recipes for south beach diet

One of the best sites to find recipes
Mediterranean Diet and the South Beach Diet

How the Diets are Alike

The similarities between these two diets include eating restaurant-quality recipes and promoting healthy monounsaturated fats. Both diets are low in unhealthy saturated fats. Unhealthy fats are found in cheese and meat. Both diets promote healthy foods. Both provide an avenue for fast weight loss with a plan for lifetime maintenance.

How They Differ

In the Mediterranean Diet, alcohol (especially wine) is allowed in moderation. It is prohibited in the first phase of the South Beach Diet. 

The Mediterranean Diet is high in fiber while the South Beach Diet is low in fiber during its initial phase portion control is the main focus of the Mediterranean Diet while the South Beach Diet restricts "what" is eaten by prohibiting certain fruits and vegetables

Another major difference is that those who adopt the Mediterranean Diet may order foods, dressings, and seasonings online for their cooking needs. The South Beach Diet does not offer products such as these. The South Beach Diet has only been around for a few years while the Mediterranean Diet has been around for thousands of years. Studies have shown that those eating a Mediterranean Diet have less risk of major diseases and can even increase longevity.

For the fourth year in a row, the Mediterranean diet ranked first in overall best diets, according to U.S. News & World Report’s annual list.

In this comparison, we see that both diets offer health and weight loss benefits. However, the Mediterranean Diet appears to be better for long-term good health and has fared well in many studies.

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